Performs really well everywhere except deep slop, and is another tough, durable, supple and tenacious tyre from Hutchinson
The Hutchinson Griffus is their first ‘Race Lab’ tyre designed for enduro, it’s end-specific with 2.5in front and 2.4in rear versions.
Each end has a slightly revised tread using sucker-like, hollowed-out blocks outside a pronounced ‘grip’ channel and more solid central paddles. Front tyre edge knobs are in line with central blocks, whereas rear are offset for faster rolling speed. This ‘lined up’ front tread pattern is unusual, although Aaron Gwin’s Onza Aquila tyre also shares the trait to good effect.
Initial Griffus testing was in Italy and as a direct swap for Maxx Grip DH-casing Maxxis Assegai. Expecting a huge drop in grip levels (the slow-rolling Maxxis has very impressive control and braking/cornering hold), the French-made Hutchinson really surprised me.
On hard baked, dusty rock and root, grip and surefootedness is very close indeed, with the added benefit of it being way faster rolling. Plus the Griffus’ better damped, comfier, and conforming carcass tires hands less on rough, long descents. This smoothness and suppleness is a sweet Hutchinson signature I’ve noticed on all its meatier tyres too.
Triple compound with a (claimed) 94a durometer base, soft 50a centre blocks and extra sticky 40a edge blocks, the Griffus’ rubber hardness levels are more ‘Maxx Grip’ than ‘Maxx Terra’, and the carcass uses a thicker 66tpi casing with wraparound Hardskin puncture protection to weigh just over a kilo.
So in the dry in Italy, the tread and rubber compound gripped like stink and was really secure and planted at all lean angles, but how’s the Griffus back in typical UK slop and slime?
Stable on wet roots and greasy mulch (provided dirt or mud isn’t too thick), it’s not quite as locked down and planted as the Assegai I rotated it with (a Maxx Terra in the UK) on harder wet surfaces. This means there’s a sense you can push that bit harder on the toothier Maxxis, amplified further when loam gets deeper or leaf litter is really gooey.
To be fair, the Griffus is more targeted at drier, hardpacked surfaces (where it excels) rather than wetter conditions, even though I found it way more versatile than advertised.